Friday, February 3, 2012

Stubborn Belly Fat

by Kris Pitcher

You know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about belly fat. Go on. Touch it. Do that thing where you make your belly button talk. We all have it. It's something we actually share in common. Sure, we might have different jobs, live in different parts of the world, and differ on many issues. But this one, we share.

So why is it so hard to get rid of these love handles? This spare tire? The pony keg hiding your six pack? Why oh why?! There are a number of factors effecting stubborn belly fat. Foremost, we don’t get to choose where we loose.

Our body will shed fat systematically and this is often one of the last places we lose from. You can thank your genetics for where you tend to store your fat too. You don't have to look too far from the family tree to know if you're an apple, or a pear. When we shed fat, some of us shed in kind of an over all fashion...and some will shed from place to place. We don't get to choose.

We also carry different kinds of fat. We store subcutaneous fat, just below the surface of our skin. This is the fat we can measure by way of skin fold measurements. When you pinch an inch, this is what you are pinching. We also store intramuscular fat; many of us store a great deal of intra-abdominal fat.

Think of intramuscular fat like looking at a marbled steak. The fat is in between (intra) the muscle fibers. This fat is more difficult to measure and many people carry their fair share of intra-abdominal fat. You could say the odds are stacked against them. Losing this type of fat takes time and dedication. Mostly, well time and dedication.

But a bigger issue is a hormone issue. Our stress hormone, cortisol, promotes the storage of abdominal fat.  We tend to lead lives and consume foods that promote storage of fat in this area. The more stress we find ourselves in, the higher cortisol output and the more storage of abdominal fat.

You can see why belly fat is so stubborn. Stress, genetics, storage, and it's the last to go. What's a person to do? Keep doing what you're supposed to do. Control your stress. Do your cardiovascular exercise, eat clean, healthy meals frequently, and incorporate strength training into your program.

What about spot reducing? Well sure, you can spot reduce. It's called liposuction.


  1. Kris- can cortisol levels be tested? Just curious...

    1. A lab test for cortisol can be order by your doctor.

  2. Kris- can cortisol levels be tested? Just curious...